Monthly Archives: November 2006

10 Things You Need to know about the Baltimore Metro

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I hardly expect any of my friends who live out of state to know that Baltimore has a subway line, but I was a little surprised to learn that some of my friends who do live in Maryland didn’t even know it existed. Car-less myself, I decided to make a list comparing both the Washington and Baltimore Metro systems for those who know less about the latter (And I guarantee anyone who’s ever complained about using Washington Metro will be thanking their lucky stars it exists after reading this). And so, here it goes:

DC Metro = 5 lines (plus a definite Silver Line; maybe a Purple Line if O’Malley’s smart)
Baltimore Metro = 1 line
The numbers kind of speak for themselves on this one…


There is no concept of “stand on the right, walk on your left” on any Baltimore Metro escalator. It does not exist. Just find an open space when you can and start walking.

Washington Metro = Random people begging for change
Baltimore Metro = Random people rambling about something you don’t understand.

There will be nothing electronic indicating to you when the next train is coming. No sign with the number of minutes until arrival. Definitely no blinking floor lights. If you ride the train enough you probably know when it is coming–then again if you’re reading this now you probably didn’t even know Baltimore had a subway…

Some stations smell like warm public restrooms. Some don’t. Here’s to hoping your destination isn’t the former.

Make sure all the errands you have to do are in between Owings Mills and Johns Hopkins Hospital stops, because that’s all you can get to anyways. If you were hoping to get to something many people utilize like, oh I don’t know, Morgan State University or places like these, then you’re S.O.L. unless you know the bus lines inside and out. (BTW the bus service sucks too if you couldn’t already guess).

It costs the same amount of money to travel from Owings Mills to Old Court as it does to travel from Owings Mills to Johns Hopkins Hospital. By the way, here’s a map to show you just how effing unfair THAT is.

Do not expect any constant public announcement reminders to look for suspicious packages or to find any uniformed security personnel walking around.

Baltimore Metro decided to copycat at least one thing from Washington Metro, which is the fare card. This would be an even greater accomplishment if several of the stations actually had fare card gates I could slide my card through. Note: It’s a poor reflection on the state’s transit system in general if you can get a card from one station and you can’t even use it getting home from another.

And last but not least:

DC Metro employees can be nasty. Baltimore Metro employees are nastier.

So that I don’t totally bash my hometown’s efforts with improving mass transit, I SHOULD mention that they would like to expand the metro as far west as Woodlawn and as far east as Fells Point. This is part of the Baltimore Region Transit Plan’s “Red Line”

However, there were plans for a Baltimore Subway as early as the mid-1960s. It didn’t open until 1983, the Owings Mills stop wasn’t added until most of you reading this was born and the last stop to be added (Johns Hopkins Hospital) was 12 years ago. At the rate we’re going I’ll probably be a 50-year-old, single tabloid writer living with a bunch of cats by the time they extend this subway. And I don’t even like cats that much.

I guess I should make sure I’m 50 years old, single and living with a bunch of cats in Greenbelt. At least I’ll be on the Green Line.